If you’re looking for some ideas for teaching colors to preschoolers, you’ve come to the right place. Teaching colors is just one of many skills preschoolers need to have mastered before entering kindergarten and here I’m sharing fun color activities for toddlers and preschoolers alike.
***This post includes a free printable, so be sure to grab it from the end of the post!***
IDEAS FOR TEACHING COLORS TO PRESCHOOLERS AND TODDLERS
Teaching colors to preschoolers can easily be done through everyday life experiences. In fact, that’s how many children learn their colors. Parents and caregivers naturally point out color attributes on the objects in young children’s environments.
“Bring me the red cup.”
“Do you like your blue shoes?”
“Do you want the pink cookie or the yellow cookie?”
The more the parents and caregivers draw attention to colors in the preschooler’s environment, the easier it may be for them to learn their colors.
That’s how preschoolers and toddlers naturally learn color names.
When I was a young mother and new teacher, I didn’t realize that colors also needed to be directly taught to children. You see, my oldest very naturally picked up on colors from our daily activities.
It was easy for him to match colors. He was quick to remember colors after they were named. In fact, he already knew four of the six rainbow colors by the time he was 18 months.
I thought all children were like this.
But as I had more children and as my teaching experience grew, I realized that while some preschoolers and toddlers have their colors taught to them by the environment, many do not. Many children require more exclusive, play-based activities to help them learn colors.
FAQ ABOUT TEACHING COLORS TO PRESCHOOLERS
The easiest way to introduce colors to young children is to talk about them! It’s easy to point out colors you see throughout the day in a natural way.
~ Comment on the colors you toddler chooses. “I like your red shirt! It’s the same color as mine.”
~ Invite your child to choose between two colors. “Would you like the green cup or the pink cup?”
~ Point out colors as you read books. “This duck is yellow, but this one is white. Can you find another ___ duck?”
By the end of preschool, before a child enters kindergarten, they should know all the following colors:
Advanced preschoolers might be able to name shades of the above list of colors by adding “light” or “dark” modifiers. Some might even be able to identify colors by saying things like, “greenish-blue.”
Like any other content you teach your preschooler or toddler, you want color activities that will make learning fun. Variety is key! Here are some tips to make learning about colors more enjoyable:
Include color activities that involve whole-body movement.
~ Try matching colors.
~ Go on scavenger hunts.
~ Play “I Spy.”
~ Make color collections.
~ Create rainbows using random items from around the house.
~ Practice sorting by using color items.
~ Have “dress in ____” color days…or do the same with foods.
~ Play “Where’s the Thimble” with specific color items.
TEACHING COLORS TO PRESCHOOLERS
Color recognition is one of the few skills that really does need to be mastered before entering kindergarten. By the end of the year, preschoolers should be able to not only match rainbow colors (including brown, black, white, gray, and pink), but they should also be able to name colors.
More advanced preschoolers should be able to identify significant color variations, too. (Like the difference between light pink and dark pink, for example).
For those with limited exposure to colors, it might feel like there are a lot of colors for preschoolers to learn. To help my preschoolers learn their colors, I’ve created a number of color sorting mats. You can find some of them below.
This post also includes a free printable for teaching colors in preschool and other free preschool color activities. You will find all of these at the end of this post.
12 Fine Motor Task Boxes$10.00
FREE RAINBOW CHRISTMAS TREE COLOR SORTING MATS
Color sorting activities are one of the best ways to start teaching colors, especially to preschoolers who haven’t had a lot of “color exposure” before coming to preschool. These mats are a colorful (pun intended) and fun addition to your Christmas activities.
Color sorting mats are also my favorite way to introduce toddlers to color concepts. Be sure to read at the end of this post all the different color activities for preschoolers that you can do with this one printable!
- FREE Christmas tree printable
- color manipulatives
The Set Up
Print the Christmas tree color sorting mats in color on cardstock and laminate for added durability. Cut apart and place on a preschool table with some color manipulatives of your choice. Pom poms are always a popular choice, but you can also use legos, buttons, or transparent color counters.
Now, invite your toddler or preschooler to join you in some fun color learning activities.
HOW TO USE THIS PRINTABLE TO TEACH COLORS
The primary activity that inspired this simple (but oh-so-fun) preschool activity is straightforward. Invite your preschooler to use their fingers, tongs or tweezers to sort the pom poms on the Christmas tree sorting mats.
Using the tweezers can be hard for many preschoolers. They are hard to “tweeze”, which is by design because it really works on strengthening their hands. You can read more about the importance of hand strengthening here.
Preschoolers who do not have the hand strength to use the jumbo tweezers the traditional way may try to use two hands. I do not correct my preschoolers when this happens. I always demonstrate how to properly hold and use the jumbo tweezers, however I don’t try to “fix” their grasp of the tweezers. Like developing pencil grasp, their grasp of the tweezers will change and progress as their hands and fingers develop more strength.
Alternatively, young preschoolers or toddlers might choose to use their hands to transfer the pom poms. This is ok, too. Picking up each pom pom requires the use of the pincer grasp, so they will still be working on fine motor skills.
Now, since the Christmas trees also have ornaments, preschoolers can be invited to count each one and then add their counters over the top of each ornament. This will challenge their hand-eye coordination and dexterity.
MORE IDEAS FOR TEACHING COLORS TO PRESCHOOLERS
There’s nothing I appreciate more than being able to print off a single printable and have a ton of different ways to use it. That saves me both time and money. Here are 7 other ways to use these Christmas Tree Color Sorting Mats:
- Provide older preschoolers with various color sorting manipulatives that may be more difficult to use with tweezers. Connecting cubes, for example, may be more difficult.
- Add even more fine motor fun by inviting your preschoolers to make their own rainbow pom poms by crumpling up construction paper or tissue paper.
- Try the opposite and present the mats already filled with manipulatives and invite your preschoolers to remove them.
- Or, cover the mats with random colors of pom poms and have your preschooler practice color sorting by removing all the wrong colors from each mat.
- Invite younger preschoolers to just explore using the tweezers or tongs. Don’t worry about the color sorting.
- Add a math component by rolling a die and inviting your preschooler to count sets of pom poms onto the rainbow Christmas tree mats.
- Make small copies, and multiple copies, of the rainbow Christmas trees to place in a sensory bin. Throw in all your rainbow pom poms and some scoops to make a complete Christmas sensory bin where your kids can freely explore colors.
GRAB YOUR FREE CHRISTMAS PRINTABLE HERE
Simply fill out the information below and your printable will be delivered to your email.
Looking for More Printable Activities to Teach Colors?
Here are some more fun, FREE PRINTABLES that also teach colors:
6 Rainbow Math Activities for Preschoolers (stayathomeeducator.com)
Rainbow Letters Race to the Top Letter Identification Game (stayathomeeducator.com)
FREE Rainbow Train Games for Kids – Stay At Home Educator
Pumpkin Colors Booklet a Free Fall Printables – Stay at Home Educator
6 Ways to Teach Colors to Toddlers with Free Printable (stayathomeeducator.com)
Color Sorting Activities for Preschool St. Patrick’s Day (stayathomeeducator.com)
8 Rainbow Snowman Winter Fine Motor Activities (stayathomeeducator.com)
Teaching colors is a staple in preschool, which is wonderful because it is truly so much fun! It is my hope that this free color printable can be used again and again in your classroom as you meet the individual needs of all of your students. It is my wish that your preschoolers see the beauty of the colors that fill their lives each and every day!
I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.